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Trusted Automation with Dynamic Proximity-Based UX in IoT Systems

In developing an interface for an Internet-of-Things (IoT) system, a challenge that a product team is often faced with is "what data is currently most important to the user" and "what does user need to see." One good way to answer these questions is to use the user's proximity to the physical device to create context for the UI. As an example, consider an IoT garage door opening system.

In this scenario, there are two different potential usages for location in the app. When the user is close to the device, they are most likely wanting to use the application to open and close the door itself and less likely to be interested in the status or history of the door. In the case of close proximity, the UI should focus on allowing the user to change the state of the door as quickly as possible. When a user is not at home or anywhere near the system, they are most likely wanting to check on the state or history of the door. Did they remember to close the door? Did their spouse or roommate park in the single car garage? In the cases of larger proximity, the UI can focus on current status of the door as well as the recent history of door events.

For interfaces that require longer forms of interaction, physical interaction may provide a time window to initiate a focused interaction. By monitoring a physical interaction with a device, a mobile application can receive a push notification while the user is engaged with the device. It is likely that the user has already allocated a small amount of mental time to accomplish their goal and may be willing to interact with the virtual application to gather additional information, perform a larger goal, or provide feedback to underlying learning algorithms.

By monitoring proximity to an IoT device, the UX can be adjusted to prioritize the information and controls the user most likely wishes to access at their current location.